Business Cards – What You Really Need to Know to Have an Effective Business Card

So you believe that your business card just tells a client your name and contact info. This is not the case. Your business card assures clients and potential clients a lot more than this.

Think of your business card as part of your sales team, in fact it is your personalized sales representative. This sales representative will be functioning for you when you are not. When a potential customer is recollecting of a problem they will search their list of contacts by browsing business cards that they have acquired through out the years. If your card has that magical formula to arouse a response from reading your card then it has done its chore. More significantly, when submitting a business card it also gives an opinion about your degree of professionalism, how your business functions and your general abilities.

Your business card, like a respectable sales person must be equipped with a respectable sales ability and first-class product knowledge. If a salesperson does not have the above mentioned, then he will not complete the sale. This maintains true with a business card. If your card has the power to gain a sale and to relay product knowledge, namely you, then your business card can do its job in good order.

But how can you get those two important things into a small piece of paper?

When picking out a business card make sure that you use excellent quality stock for your business cards. Stay away from mediocre stock, make-it-yourself at home cards. These business cards will establish a terrible impression for you, your company and your overall business. You have to look like you regularly succeed in acquiring and carrying out a great volume of business. You can only do this by making the card as presentable as possible. You should supply a company logo that again, looks professional and in turn, this logo makes your card and you look more professional.

Another strategy to make your card more robust and raising its likeliness of completing a transaction for you is to make the card different from other business cards. When I mean different, I do not mean radically different. You must make sure your card appears presentable and respectable but keeping it different from your competitors. Business and contact information should be on the front of the business card but expressing facts about your company and ways that you are unique from the competition should be expressed on the back of your business card. This can include price differences, professional accolades or guaranteed level of service.

Differences can also be shown merely by having different sized business cards compared to common cards. One possibility is to create business cards that are slightly smaller than standard cards. Another fashionable alternative is to have all the info in portrait orientation instead of the stock landscape orientation. This will force the business card holder to turn the card and read the card. This may appear like a dry or poor strategy that does not result in any action but in fact there is a psychological portion to this. If a person is forced to do an action before they read something, they are more likely to retrieve or call that person because there was a previous action carried out. This action of curiosity is more in all likelihood, to snap a person’s attention and consequently having a business card doing its job of completing a business dealing for you.

Remember; always have your business card with you at all times. You never know when you’ll meet a possible customer. Being readied with a business card also proves your readiness in doing business.

The Essential Checklist For Business Financing

Every year, thousands, if not millions, of businesses are declined when trying to secure different types of business financing. Many times, the business owner is unaware of why they were declined in the first place. Banks and other lenders can be very finical at times. If your business is not set up exactly the right way, you may be declined over something seemingly inconsequential, even before the lender takes the time to determine whether or not your company is creditworthy. The following 8 step checklist will make sure your company is set up the right way, the way lenders like to see it.

Step 1: Form a separate legal entity.

A sole proprietor can get approved for a “business loan”, but it will not be a true business loan. Since there is no separate legal entity apart from the owner, the loan will be in the personal name of the owner and based on their personal credit scores.

It is highly recommended that a business gets incorporated if they want to maximize their chances of getting approved for financing, as well as to protect the assets and credit scores of the owner(s). An LLC, S-Corp, and C-Corp are all forms of separate legal entities. To choose the right one for you business, you should consult a professional. There are easy and inexpensive services online you can use to incorporate your company like BizFilings.

Step 2: Check for name conflicts

This is a more common occurrence than some may think. If your company has an identical, or even similar, name as another company, it is easy for a lender to get confused and mix up the two. It is possible that when trying to pull your company’s credit history, or look at other company information, your business may get confused with another. To prevent this, you should first check the business credit agencies (Experian, Dun and Bradstreet, and Equifax) to see if there are any companies listed that could get confused with yours. Next, you should do a search at the US Trademark Office to see if your company, or another, is in violation of trademark laws.

Finally, if you do not currently have a website, or are in the process of setting one up, make sure you secure a domain name that matches the name of your business. If somebody else has a website that is the same name as your business you could have problems. If there are any conflicts above, you should change your legal business name with the Secretary of State, or seek to reprimand another company that is using your name or image illegally.

Step 3: Get a separate business address

Funding sources prefer not to lend to home based businesses. This is not necessarily fair or just, but that’s the way it is. If you are currently working from home, or do not have a physical location for your business, we recommend getting a virtual address with a place like Mailboxes Etc. or UPS Stores and use it in all business filings. Sometimes you will have to modify the address they give you and use “Suite” instead of “PMB.”

Sometimes these addresses will be flagged, so a better way to go may be to find local executive suites that will forward mail to you. This way you can have a business location without having to lease office space.

Step 4: Get a 411 listing and business phone number

Almost all lenders will verify that you are listed in your 411 directory before they consider lending to your business. You should never use your home number for this listing and your phone should always be answered professionally with the company name. If a lender calls your business and you answer with, “Hello,” this does not bode well for your chances of getting approved.

Following this checklist will greatly increase the chance of getting approved for business financing. It will also get your business set up the right way to start building a strong business credit profile. Stay tuned for part 2 of The Essential Checklist for Business Financing.

Business Process Modeling – Why Waste Your Money?

Millions of hours and hundred of millions of dollars are spent around the world each year by businesses of all sizes doing Business Process Modeling.

Why?

The senior executives involved in signing off the huge budgets for these projects would tell you of the wonderful benefits they will bring to their enterprises.

But Do They?

How many businesses are better off after these projects than they were before? The answer, very sadly is, very, very few!

But why not?

Sadly, most of these modeling projects make such fundamental errors that they are guaranteed to fail. Yet all of these errors are all completely avoidable. Any reasonably competent analyst following the basic rules for Business Modeling could avoid them! The crazy thing is that even the most “experienced” analysts in these projects GET THE BASICS WRONG!

The Five Cardinal Errors

The five most common errors made by business analysts are:

1. Incorrect or no basic definitions

2. Starting in the wrong place

3. Decomposing business processes

4. Modeling the wrong thing

5. Using grandiose names for flawed techniques

One of these errors would be bad enough but once you get Item 1 wrong you are going to get the rest wrong as well – a recipe for a very expensive failure!

But there is hope. There are some good analysts out there and they do an excellent job. Unfortunately, the means by which they achieve their good results is all locked away in their heads. Unless an analyst eager to learn their methods were to follow them around for three to six months, there would be no way of learning these methods. But there is one exception.

John Owens, a business modeling specialist with over twenty years international experience and learning has written down the very best techniques and given birth to the Integrated Modeling Method (IMM). Following IMM will enable all analysts to avoid the Five BPM Cardinal Errors and achieve extreme success in Business Modeling.

Lets take a closer look at the Five Cardinal Errors.

Cardinal Error 1: No Basic Definitions

Ask any three business analysts “what is a Business Process?”. The immediate response that you will get is a loud guffaw and be told not to be so stupid, because “Everybody knows what a Business Process is!” But if you press them for a definition you will get at least four different answers and probably NONE of them will be right.

Hard to believe, but it is true. The reason for this is probably because analysis started off in the world of computing where jargon was, and still is, king. Nearly everybody in that world believes that they know exactly what each piece of jargon means and what they understand it to mean is exactly what everybody else understands – WRONG!

If they ever have a doubt about their understanding, they will never ask. That would be admitting that they do not know and would risk the ridicule of their peers! So they bluff it out year after year, increasing their time in the business but not their learning.

So lets turn the tide and give some basic but essential definitions that anyone doing Business Systems Analysis or Business Process Modeling needs to be able to give by heart.

Business Function: WHAT a business must do, disregarding HOW and WHO.

Mechanism: HOW and WHO does the WHAT of the Business Function.

Business Process: The order in which Business Functions need to be carried out.

Business Procedure: HOW and WHO does the WHAT in a Business Process.

Full definitions for all of these terms can be found at Integrated Modeling Method

Solution 1: Learn the basic definitions.

Cardinal Error 2: Starting in the Wrong Place

When analysts do not have the definitions for the basic elements for Business Modeling they inevitably start in the wrong place. Once you know that a Process is a definition of the order in which Business Functions need to be carried out, you then know that, before you can model Business Processes you need to have modeled the functions. Simple, but a step missed out by probably 70% of Process Modeling projects.

Solution 2: Start in the right place and model the Business Functions.

Cardinal Error 3: Decomposing Processes

When analysts start in the wrong place and miss out modeling the Business Functions, they then fall into the next trap and model high level Processes, which they then have to decompose to get them to some usable level of detail.

Decomposing processes is a practice to be AVOIDED AT ALL COSTS because 1) it generates up to 300% more diagrams than are necessary and 2) it is an inherently flawed technique when it comes to precedence logic. When you start with the Business Functions, you can do all decomposition in the Function Hierarchy and only draw processes for the Elementary Business Functions, resulting in far fewer diagrams, lots of time and money saved, no logic errors.

Solution 3: Decompose Functions not Processes.

Cardinal Error 4: Modeling the Wrong Thing

For analysts committing Cardinal Error 1, the errors get compounded. Because they cannot tell a Function from a Process, they also cannot tell a Function from a Mechanism. So they start modeling Processes – wrong in itself – they then compound their error by modeling Mechanisms (the HOW and the WHO) as steps in what they think is a Process and end up, without knowing it, modeling Procedure.

If you do not believe my do a search on the Internet for Process Modeling software and 70%, or more, of what you find will be Procedure Modeling software!

Solution 4: Again, learn the basic definitions!

Cardinal Error 5: Using Grandiose Names

Are Process Modeling projects going wrong because analysts are doing the wrong thing? They would say no! They would have you believe that it is because the whole subject is so complicated. But they have developed a magical method or tool (which will have some esoteric name), that is still more complicated, that will solve all of the problems – but it will cost more and will take longer!

No grandiose name can make an inherently flawed approach useable.

Solution 5: If it cannot be explained in plain english, it will not work!

Summary

  • Most Process Modeling and BPM projects fail.
  • The reason is that most analysts do not know the basics.
  • Complex methods and esoteric names are no solution.
  • The solution lies in bringing to the projects the power of simplicity and elegance. All analysis flourishes, and always has, when endowed with simplicity and elegance.